Whether your store is decades old or new to the neighborhood, your business is a part of the fabric of the community, economically, socially and culturally.
There are ways to celebrate being America’s trash receptacle, especially at the fuel island, by highlighting or increasing recycling capabilities, hosting community recycling events and charitable giving to relevant organizations. NACS consumer survey results found that nearly half of all naysayers of convenience stores in their community cite litter as being the cause of their consternation. Survey results also found that 53% of consumers prefer to buy from companies that encourage recycling and that number increases to 62% for millennials.
The cost is well over $11.5 billion each year—and that’s a conservative number—to clean up and address litter throughout the United States, suggests Keep America Beautiful. For more than 50 years, Keep America Beautiful (KAB) has been educating and motivating Americans to clean up their litter and the environment. And there are many ways you can address your clean-up objectives:
- Download this free guide developed by KAB and NACS: Being a Good Neighbor: A Guide to Reducing Litter, Managing Trash and Encouraging Recycling at Convenience Stores.
- Curb Litter: Remember that first impressions matter. Litter is one of the most highly cited reasons why people don’t want a convenience store in their community, so don’t be trashy! Read more about keeping your site clean and litter-free in NACS Magazine.
- Improve Recycling: Free resources include tips for designing public places, creating your own recycling events (electronics recycling, recycling at work) and promotional materials and signs you can print.
- Promote America Recycles Day, held annually on November 15.
Do you have a mug or cup refill program? Not only will customers repeatedly shop your store, they’ll also help reduce waste. You can also consider partnering with local or national charity to donate a percentage of the refill price.
Here’s other ideas for engaging your community with environmental stewardship efforts:
- Plant a Tree: The Keep America Beautiful National Planting Day takes place the first Saturday after Labor Day.
- Greenprint promotes sustainability through providing fuel and services to help the environment.
- The Arbor Day Foundation hold National Arbor Day on the last Friday in April, but each state has designated days to celebrate based on climate and planting season.
- Earth Day is held each year on April 22. Find local events and participate by lending staff, donating product or sponsoring events and programs.
- KaBOOM! has engaged over 200 cities to create family-friendly, play-filled communities and more than 16,300 playgrounds. KaBOOM! Relies on corporate financial donations and volunteer builders.
Here’s a snapshot at what some convenience stores are doing in their community to help promote and protect the environment:
- The Ricker’s Replenish campaign donates a portion of every gallon to planting trees and carbon offset programs to help reduce your tailpipe emissions.
- For every gallon of ALON Fuel purchased with the STRIVE program, stores will invest in local greenscape, reforestation, wildlife protection, and renewable energy projects.
- Hy-Vee has pledged to plant 100,000 trees and use Earth-friendly paper products.
- Kum & Go celebrated its 100th LEED certification on Earth Day.
Convenience stores are in a unique position to be the eyes and ears of the communities they serve. Located in every community across the United States, convenience stores often serve as the only safe haven for at-risk individuals and those seeking assistance from troubling situations.
Longer hours of operation and frequent, regular customer interactions allow for greater visibility into community happenings, especially those that may be unusual.
It’s also a smart business practice to look out for neighborhood police officers both as a crime deterrent and to thank them for their service. Many retailers show their support by:
- Offering a free beverage to officers in uniform.
- Providing financial support for civic fundraisers such Police Athletic leagues, Fraternal Order of Police groups, and other such charities.
NACS has partnered with nationally-recognized organizations and created resources to help retailers play a vital role in helping youth in peril and identify and help potential victims of human trafficking. Learn more on our Community Safety page.
Here’s what some retailers are doing to promote safety and support in their community:
Being a good neighbor can help position your company and employees as champions for your community. So, it’s important that you tell your story about your hard work and efforts.